Wednesday, February 29, 2012

LLC Wednesdays #14: Part 2 of Luther's Large Catechism, The Apostles's Creed, Article 1

9 I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
10 This shows and sets forth most briefly what is God the Father’s essence, will, activity, and work. The Ten Commandments have taught that we are to have not more than one God [Deuteronomy 6:4]. So it might be asked, “What kind of a person is God? What does He do? How can we praise, or show and describe Him, that He may be known?” Now, that is taught in this and in the following article. So the Creed is nothing other than the answer and confession of Christians arranged with respect to the First Commandment. 11 It is as if you were to ask a little child, “My dear, what sort of a God do you have? What do you know about Him?” The child could say, “This is my God: first, the Father, who has created heaven and earth. Besides this One only, I regard nothing else as God. For there is no one else who could create heaven and earth.”
12 But for the learned and those who are somewhat advanced, these three articles may all be expanded and divided into as many parts as there are words. But now for young scholars let it suffice to make the most necessary points, as we have said, that this article refers to the Creation. We emphasize the words “Creator of heaven and earth.” 13 But what is the force of this, or what do you mean by these words, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth?” Answer: “This is what I mean and believe, that I am God’s creature [2 Corinthians 5:17]. I mean that He has given and constantly preserves [Psalm 36:6] for me my body, soul, and life, my members great and small, all my senses, reason, and understanding, and so on. He gives me food and drink, clothing and support, wife and children, domestic servants, house and home, and more. 14 Besides, He causes all created things to serve for the uses and necessities of life. These include the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens, day and night, air, fire, water, earth, and whatever it bears and produces. They include birds and fish, beasts, grain, and all kinds of produce [Psalm 104]. 15 They also include whatever else there is for bodily and temporal goods, like good government, peace, and security.” 16 So we learn from this article that none of us owns for himself, nor can preserve, his life nor anything that is here listed or can be listed. This is true no matter how small and unimportant a thing it might be. For all is included in the word Creator.
17 Further, we also confess that God the Father has not only given us all that we have and see before our eyes, but He daily preserves and defends us against all evil and misfortune [Psalm 5:11]. He directs all sorts of danger and disaster away from us. We confess that He does all this out of pure love and goodness, without our merit, as a kind Father. He cares for us so that no evil falls upon us. 18 But to speak more about this belongs in the other two parts of this article, where we say, “Father Almighty.”
19 Now, all that we have, and whatever else is in heaven and upon the earth, is daily given, preserved, and kept for us by God. Therefore, it is clearly suggested and concluded that it is our duty to love, praise, and thank Him for these things without ceasing [1 Thessalonians 5:17–18]. In short, we should serve Him with all these things, as He demands and has taught in the Ten Commandments.
20 We could say much here, if we were to wander, about how few people believe this article. For we all pass over it, hear it, and say it. Yet we do not see or consider what the words teach us. 21 For if we believed this teaching with the heart, we would also act according to it [James 2:14]. We would not strut about proudly, act defiantly, and boast as though we had life, riches, power, honor, and such, of ourselves [James 4:13–16]. We would not act as though others must fear and serve us, as is the practice of the wretched, perverse world. The world is drowned in blindness and abuses all the good things and God’s gifts only for its own pride, greed, lust, and luxury. It never once thinks about God, so as to thank Him or acknowledge Him as Lord and Creator.
22 This article ought to humble and terrify us all, if we believed it. For we sin daily [Hebrews 3:12–13] with eyes, ears, hands, body and soul, money and possessions, and with everything we have. This is especially true of those who fight against God’s Word. Yet Christians have this advantage: they acknowledge that they are duty bound to serve God for all these things and to be obedient to Him.
23 We ought, therefore, daily to recite this article. We ought to impress it upon our mind and remember it by all that meets our eyes and by all good that falls to us. Wherever we escape from disaster or danger, we ought to remember that it is God who gives and does all these things. In these escapes we sense and see His fatherly heart and His surpassing love toward us [Exodus 34:6]. In this way the heart would be warmed and kindled to be thankful, and to use all such good things to honor and praise God.
24 We have most briefly presented the meaning of this article. This is how much is necessary at first for the most simple to learn about what we have, what we receive from God, and what we owe in return. This is a most excellent knowledge but a far greater treasure. For here we see how the Father has given Himself to us, together with all creatures, and has most richly provided for us in this life. We see that He has overwhelmed us with unspeakable, eternal treasures by His Son and the Holy Spirit, as we shall hear [Colossians 2:2].
Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 399

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

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